BOSTON (CBS) – Ongoing problems on the MBTA and commuter rail have kept the struggling system in the spotlight this summer. They will likely remain there through the fall, as Gov. Charlie Baker’s Democratic challenger focuses on continuing service failures with a system Baker vowed to fix.
Keller @ Large: Nightmare Continues For MBTA Commuters
So in advance of our one-on-one interview with MBTA General Manager Luis Ramirez, which will air in its entirety this Sunday at 8:30am on the WBZ Sunday Morning News, we asked our viewers and social-media followers to submit questions they’d like to see asked of the GM.
Jay F. tweeted: “I would love to hear him acknowledge how filthy the stations are, and what plans if any he has to address the situation.”
Even before we read the question to Ramirez, he singled out T station appearance as a situation that surprised him when he joined the T last September.
“It’s appalling some of the conditions, the cleanliness and the lack of things that should be done a long time ago for maintenance…. As we make changes to stations, as we do construction projects, we’re building in an element of station refresh.”
Does that mean more investment? “More money’s going into that, we actually have put money into the capital budget over the next five years to continue to invest in that,” he said.
Peter K. tweeted: “As new projects move forward, how do you get a handle on protecting taxpayers from cost overruns?”
Ramirez: “We’ve spent a lot of time fixing the systems internally, putting processes in place and hiring people who can actually run these projects efficiently and on budget and on time.”
Rick S. e-mailed his frustration over unexplained delays, writing: “Any communication is better than none and the Green Line train drivers are the worst and give [passengers] zip.”
Ramirez: “We’ve been training all the operators, Green Line, Red Line, Orange Line and bus drivers, on how to communicate with customers when these events occur. We found that sometimes they’re not being communicated to by us, and when they don’t know something they’re not saying something.”
And Jon R. e-mailed a question several others also raised: “Why don’t [T officials] use the services we are stuck using?”
Ramirez: “I actually use the system every day. I live in Boston so I get to actually experience both the traffic issues and everything else everybody experiences coming in and out of the city every day. So for me, it’s been an eye-opener to do that.”